Sierra Cary-Brown, who ran track at Baltimore City College High School and later coached track there as a full-time TU student, is hard to keep pace with.
While most student internships are no more than 10 hours per week, Cary-Brown worked a full-time schedule as a community health intern at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “My full course schedule and my internship prepared me well for the work world,” claims Cary-Brown, an advocate for individuals, communities and health systems affected by HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) through the institute’s JACQUES Initiative (JI).
“We help link patients to care and combat barriers to care such as transportation, child care, and mental health,” says Cary-Brown, who implemented a strategic social media project that increased community engagement and promoted healthy living and health services. “I helped implement a community input session to gauge how we can better serve community members,” describes Cary-Brown. “We received feedback on community needs and what should be included in upcoming health programs.”
She credits Michele Jancewski, a lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences, with broadening her perspective about what she could do with a health science major (note: the health science major has been renamed the health education and promotion major). “I now know that I do want go into the field of minority health and health disparities, and I intend to pursue a master’s in public health in health policy,” says Cary-Brown.
That goal was jumpstarted through an internship with the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities of the Maryland Department of Health where she participated in the grant review process to help fund disbursement to programs that tackle health disparity gaps in minority populations.
Cary-Brown further widened her view of health disparities through a three-week Study Abroad in Gender, Health, and Social Justice in Ghana, where she instructed a health empowerment class for young girls, visited the Ghana Ministry of Health to discuss women’s health policies and talked about international health policies and collaboration at the U.S. Embassy in Ghana.